By SAJA HINDI
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed three bills into law on Tuesday aimed at helping victims of domestic violence, including the sixth and final gun bill of this year’s legislative session.
HB21-1255 is an attempt to strengthen compliance of a 2013 law to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Existing state and federal laws already require the subject of a domestic violence-related permanent protection order to turn in their guns, but this law creates a process to ensure that happens, according to bill sponsors, including scheduling a compliance hearing.
A person accused of domestic violence and served with a criminal or permanent civil protection order will now be required to provide information within seven business days of the order about all the guns they own, including where they are stored.
According to a state legislative fiscal analysis, an estimated 11,884 domestic violence protection orders each year will involve relinquishing guns with the new law. In Denver alone, the city has averaged 10 firearm relinquishments per month since 2019.
Bill sponsor Rep. Monica Duran, a Wheat Ridge Democrat and domestic violence survivor, said these new laws are about empowering victims and giving them the support they need.
“I also think it’s important for (victims) to know that the laws that we have truly have substance behind them,” Duran said. “And this is just another tool … in order for them to know that if I get a protection order, that there is going to be follow through and process in keeping me and my family safe.”
The governor signed the three bills at PorchLight, A Family Justice Center, in Lakewood, which provides services to victims of domestic violence and other abuse.
The others are SB21-292, which allocates $15 million of federal funding to victim support services for those more disproportionately affected by COVID-19, particularly victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; and HB21-1228, which increases and clarifies training requirements related to domestic violence for court employees who work with children and families on domestic cases.
All three laws take effect immediately.